Eloise in Wayne County, Michigan, was a hospital for the mentally ill. It later cared for tuberculosis patients and others needing residential care. The hospital operated from 1839 to 1984. The Eloise complex was a small city with 10,000 patients and a staff of 2,000 at its peak in the 1920s. John Byrnes grew up near the hospital and heard many stories about unmarked graves in a nearby field. He decided to find out. Byrnes and 12 volunteers have now uncovered more than 400 graves and have been told there could be more than 7,000.
A lot of people buried in the unmarked graves were poor. “They were sick, no family to claim them, and this is the place where they just started putting bodies,” said Byrnes. “Let these people have dignity. They didn’t have anything in life. I mean, in death, they’re just going to left like this? What if it was your family?” The volunteers are researching the identities of the deceased and are trying to notify living relative.
You can read more and watch a video in an article by Jason Colthorp in the Detroit’s Channel 4 web site at http://goo.gl/04D6CR.
My thanks to newsletter reader Ernie Thode for telling me about this story.